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Start-Up Protein Chip Firm Protometrix Names First President

NEW YORK, Feb. 21 - Start-up protein-chip company Protometrix has hired its first president, GenomeWeb learned on Thursday.

 

Holly Kleinert will take the helm of the Guilford, Conn.-based firm on March 1. She takes over from Mike Sherman, who helped get the company off the ground last August and is its current acting president.

 

"We wanted to find somebody with big pharma experience since they're our most-likely clients, and we wanted someone who can relate best to their needs," Sherman said in an interview.

Kleinert, who currently oversees the cardiovascular program at Searle, will run a 15-person company at a time when proteomics, and more specifically protein arrays, are gaining momentum in the genomics marketplace.

 

Protometrix has three facets: It performs high-throughput protein cloning, expression, and purification; it develops microarrays based on those clones; and it creates software that integrates and keeps track of data.

 

The technology around which the company is built recently squeezed 5,800 purified yeast proteins--nearly the organism's entire proteome--onto a single microarray. Called a 'nanowell' protein chip by the Yale scientist who co-developed it, the process took four years to create and is not yet on the market.

Making the array, which contains some 13,000 spots, is not automated and thus takes roughly 6 weeks, said Michael Snyder, the Yale scientist and faculty member who helped develop it. He added that Protometrix now can produce the array in about 10 days, and Sherman said that the company may soon be able to crank out a complete yeast protein chip "in a couple of days." Doing one in an afternoon is not far off, he added.

 

Protometrix is also trying to parlay its yeast technology into human protein technology. Studies researching this are ongoing, Sherman said.

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